Oracle wants to compete with HP, IBM with x86 cluster systems

Oracle has announced its next generation x86 cluster systems, which strongly show that the company is continuing to integrate Sun into its portfolio.

However, analysts have said the company still has a long way to go in terms of competing with the likes of IBM and HP and in proving that the acquisition works.

The new editions include rackmount servers, blades and a 10Gb Ethernet cluster fabric, which are all designed to run a mixture of Oracle’s software as well as its rivals’.

The systems come with Oracle Solaris, Oracle Enterprise Linux and Oracle VM and are said to reduce management complexity while increasing performance and efficiency.

The company also claimed there was a 45 per cent improvement when it came to energy consumption.

New features for the range include Oracle’s Integrated Lights Out Manager – enabling central management from one place of all the hardware – and Oracle Installation Assistant – with the claim it can install and configure blades and racks in minutes.

According to Oracle the new Sun Fire x86 Clustered Systems will be sold directly and through its partners. It also said it would distribute the new Sun Fire x86 Clustered Systems both directly to the end user and through the channel.

And it also shed some light on its relationship with AMD and Intel. A representative for the company told TechEye:   “Our strategy is to deliver products based on AMD and Intel processors.  We continually monitor and evaluate the x86 landscape to ensure that we deliver the highest possible value to our customers by identifying partner technologies that exhibit the greatest alignment with the forward direction of our server systems.  In the current generation, the Intel Xeon processor 5600 and 7500 Series best fits the positioning of the latest Oracle Sun x86 server product set.”
Despite making moves in the right direction, Oracle still needs to do more, analysts have said.

Phil Dawson, VP of research at Gartner, told us: “Oracle is making some steps forward but there’s a lot more that needs to be done.

“At the time the execution of the collaboration was horrible but that wasn’t Oracle’s fault. And the market also fell due to the recession. However the partnership leaves a few questions about the future, especially with Solaris, which has left Oracle with long commitments and there’s questions about what they will do.”

However, he wasn’t too sure about Oracle’s competing with HP, Dell & IBM

“Adding hardware platforms gives it an opportunity to complete with IBM and HP but it’s fighting a huge market. Oracle may gain 10 percent of the market but HP for example has 40 percent. In hindsight merging the two was a good idea but the proof is still in the pudding. “

Ross MacMillan, an analyst at Jefferies was slightly more positive. He said Oracle’s acquisition of Sun was a very positive step for the company as it had taken Sun’s sales direct, cutting back on third party sales and increasing hardware support prices.

He predicted that the company’s future focus was likely to turn to upcoming product upgrades, notably Oracle’s Fusion applications, which are supposed to integrate various acquired software parts.